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Eastern Tucker County and Vicinity, West Virginia
Including Wind Power Alert Addendum
Dolly Sods is part of a dissected Allegheny Mountain Tableland that extends northeast twenty miles from the Roaring Plains to State Route 93. This tableland is bounded on the southeast by the imposing scarp of the Allegheny Front and on the northwest by Cabin Mountain and Canaan Valley. The geologic structure of this tableland is synclinal, with the edges formed by the Pottsville Sandstone and the interior by successively younger Allegheny formation and Conemagh Group which have more diverse lithologies, including beds of coal and limestone (Cardwell et al, 1968). All are of Pennsylvanian age. Because of its resistance to erosion, the Pottsville is prevalent in outcrops as light gray, conglomeratic sandstone. In many places this sandstone litters the countryside in large jumbled blocks. Many of these block fields are thought to be periglacial in origin and date to the glacial maximum and sometime thereafter when tundra is inferred to have occupied these heights. However much exposure of these rocks probably occurred during the period of logging and fires when deep organic soils of the spruce forest were burned and eroded away (Clarkson, 1964).
Most of the southern part of the Tableland, including Dolly Sods, is drained by Red Creek, a branch of the Dry Fork of the Cheat River, while the northern part is drained by the Stony River, a branch of the Potomac. Much of the area is dominated by heath, but there are large areas of wetlands, recovering Red Spruce (Picea rubens) and northern hardwood forest. Where the tableland is deeply incised by Red Creek and on the Allegheny Front, there is a variety of forest types that reflect differences in elevation and moisture availability. Heath vegetation is largely developed on siliceous rocks such as the Pottsville Sandstone. Where more varied rock types occur in parts of the central region as along Red Creek, richer ecosystems occur as indicated by fish biomass and extensive Beaver colonies (Gaspar [Gasper], 1994).
The climate of the tableland is, if anything, more severe than that of Canaan Valley. Particularly characteristic are the strong west winds that have shaped many of the Spruce in banner forms by preventing the development of foliage on the windward side of crowns. However this too may in part be an artifact of the period of forest destruction when trees and soil were stripped from Cabin Mountain and other summits. Photographs of the virgin Spruce in at least parts of the tableland (Clarkson, 1964) do not show the banner forms but rather trees that are straight, tall and densely growing. It seems likely that this original forest in such areas had a considerable moderating effect on the wind. However, trees on areas of Pottsville Sandstone, where growing conditions would always have been severe, might originally have had banner forms.
Although many of the same plants and animals occur here as in the Canaan Valley, some with southern ranges and with richer soil requirements drop out. Heaths such as cranberries are more common, as is Mountain Ash (Pyrus americana) and at least one additional boreal species, Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Potentilla tridentata), occupies exposed summits. Also found here however is a wetland plant Oceanorus (Zigadenus leimanthoides) which has a peculiar bimodal distribution along the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic coastal plain with no intermediate occurrences. Both Three - toothed Cinquefoil and Oceanorus are listed as rare by the West Virginia Natural Heritage Program.
This report builds on the works of Kennedy (1853), Lewis (1925), Perkins (1929), Allard and Leonard (1952), Brooks (1963) and others referred to elsewhere in this report. Gibson (1970), in particular, surveyed the physical environment and flora of the Alder Run Bog, with the area of concentration in the vicinity of a Beaver (Castor canadensis) pond. One aspect of her study was a survey of pH values in various habitats and in waters associated with different floral types. These values ranged from 5.5 in aGlyceria community on the west side of the pond to 3.6 for water flowing into the south end of the pond from a sedge and Sphagnum zone. The relation between these values, the flora and the geologic substrate was clearly recognized by her. She also identified a number of disjunct northern species that included Juncus filiformis, Carex canescens, C. pauciflora, Scirpus atrocinctus , Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Goldthread (Coptis groenlandica) and Star Violet ( Dalibarda repens) . The northern moss Depanocladus fluitans, also found by us at Maple Flats, was associated with certain hummocks.Sphagnum recurvum and S. capillaceum occurred on the south sides of hummocks and S. capillaceum var tenellum on the north side. As emphasized by Gaspar [ Gasper ] (1994 a) and Webb (1997), pH values and the general chemistry of soil and waters as well as the flora and fauna in the region are subject to the influence of air - borne pollutants from distant coal - fired power plants. Also, this factor may have gained in influence since Gibson did her study. Luncus filiformis, Carex canescens,Carex pauciflora, Scirpus atrocinctus, Three - toothed Cinquefoil (alternatively Sibbaldiopsis tridentata), Goldthread (alternatively Coptis trifolia) and Star Violet are listed as rare by Natural Heritage. All are northern disjuncts, some far south of their normal ranges. Juncus filiformis, Carex canescens and Carex pauciflora have a circumboreal distribution as well. Most are also associated with acid environments.
Red Creek Campground and Vicinity
Source Walks: 9-10-93 and 9-11-93, overcast, wind & rain, clearing
The Red Creek Campground of the Monongahela National Forest, which is accessed by Forest Road 75, lies in the area of a Pottsville Sandstone outcrop just above the Allegheny Front. The topography is rolling, with distant views of the Tableland and North Fork Range. A bog, Alder Run Bog, of perhaps 50 acres (20 hectares), occupies the head of a branch of Red Creek, Alder Run, south of the campground. A nature trail, the Northland Loop Trail, complete with a boardwalk, crosses the bog near the road. The Blackbird Knob Hiking Trail extends west from the campground, while a bird-banding station is located to the east on the Allegheny front. Elevations range from 3800 ft (1160 meters) in the Bog to almost 4000 ft (1220 meters) on the upland. The upland in the vicinity of the campground varies between rocky heath, boggy seeps, shrubland, Red Spruce forest and Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) plantations. At this season, on the onset of autumn, leaves had begun to turn, Composite Family plants were still in bloom and the heath plants were heavy with fruit. Small migrant birds flitted through the shrubbery sheltering themselves from the wind and slanting rain. Among them also were local Juncos (Junco hyemalis) as well as Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) .Source Walks: 8-8-02 and 8-9-02
Traverses in the camp vicinity and along the Blackbird Knob Trail disclosed the following canopy species: Red Spruce, Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis), Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), Pitch and Table Mountain Pines (Pinus rigida and P. pungens) and Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) . A few stunted Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) were also seen. Red Pine is confined to plantations and little or no reproduction of this species was seen. Virtually all canopy species are small and appear stunted by the harsh conditions, while many spruce show banner forms and in this way indicate the prevailing wind direction. These normally larger species are accompanied by characteristically small trees such as Choke and Fire Cherries (Prunus virginiana and P pensylvanica), Trembling and Bigtooth Aspens (Populus tremuloides and P. grandidentata), Smooth Service Berry ( Amelanchier laevis ), Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum ), hawthorn ( Crataegus sp) and Mountain Ash, with the last-named bearing abundant berries. The shrub layer is very diverse with Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), Minnie-bush (Menziesia pilosa), Speckled Alder (Alnus rugosa) and the holly Nemopanthus mucranata among the most abundant. Other common species are Wild Raisin (Viburnum cassinoides), Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Great Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum), Mountain Azalea (Rhododendron roseum), Mountain Holly (Ilex montana ), Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata), Upland Willow (Salix humilis), Glade St. Johns-wort (Hypericum densiflorum), Pipestem (Spiraea alba) Black Huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), Gooseberry (Ribes sp), various species of Blackberries, Sourtop, Early Low and Upland Low (Vaccinium myrtilloides, V. angustifolium and V. pallidum) Blueberries and Bear Oak (Quercus ilicifolia) . A number of these - Nemopanthus, Wild Raisin, Glade St. Johns-wort, Pipestem, Speckled Alder, Winterberry Holly- will be recognized as wetland species and are usually confined to the moister areas. A conspicuous characteristic of Minnie-bush throughout the area was its apparently diseased and degraded condition that seemed to go beyond seasonal effects.
Ground cover in heath areas is dominated by acid soil species such as Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens), Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens), Ground Berry (Rubus hispidus), Large and Small Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon and V. oxycoccos), Sphagnum and Polytrichum mosses, Cladina and Cladonia lichens. Associates are Bog Goldenrod ( Solidago uliginosa), Narrow-leaved Gentian (Gentiana linearis), Cotton Sedge (Eriophorum virginicum), as well as other sedges and a few grasses. Other, perhaps less acid, seeps may contain Arrow - leaf Tear Thumb (Polygonum sagittatum ), Small-flowering St. Johns-wort, sedges and wetland grasses such as Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides) and Drooping Wood Reedgrass (Cinna latifolia) . In adjacent dry open areas flourish Flat-top White Aster (Aster umbellatus), Grass-leaved Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia), Wrinkle-leaf Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa) and Bracken Fern (Pteridium acquilinum) . On rocky hilltops at this season was Wild Bleeding-heart (Dicentra exima) still bloomed among blocks of conglomerate, while Hay-scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula was frost-browned at the forest edge. Although expected in mossy forest enclaves, Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense) was nowhere abundant and, perhaps fortuitously, no Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens), a usual inhabitant of cool acidic environments, was seen on these traverses.
A night of wind and driving rain was followed by a visit to Alder Run Bog. Here a classic boreal scene was enhanced by an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) perched on a snag. The open bog, in places showing only a foot deep veneer of peat over conglomerate, consists in part of a Sphagnum-dominated plain and in part of sedge meadow with a little open water. Rimming these open areas are shrubs with a backdrop of Red Spruce swamp forest with minor Red Maple, perhaps in display of vegetational succession. A few contorted Pitch Pine are scattered over the open bog as well. The Sphagnum community, in addition to unidentified species of this moss, contains abundant lichens, Small Cranberries (at this season almost ripe) and Rubus hispidus. In places there are hummocks, some 3 feet (1 meter) high with small seedlings of Black Chokeberry, Wild Raisin and other shrubs, or usually on the north side, scattered small colonies of Goldthread. With an admixture of sedges the Sphagnum bog grades into sedge meadow, a community dominated by robust clumps of Carex folliculata, abundant Cotton Sedge and leaf rosettes of Bog Goldenrod. Narrow-leaved Gentian is scattered throughout.
The shrub border of the open bog consists largely ofNemopanthus, Speckled Alder and lesser amounts of Black Chokeberry, Wild Raisin and Mountain Laurel. Under and among the Red Spruce these shrubs are joined by Sourtop Blueberry, Early Low Blueberry, Southern Mountain Cranberry (Vaccinium erythrocarpum), Rubus hispidus, a little Canada Mayflower and abundant Teaberry. Despite the proximity of the road, the wild character of the bog asserted itself in the form of a large Black Bear (Ursus americanus) who inadvertently appeared near to one of us while sketching the scene. The presence of this animal during the day probably reflected the urgency of the berry harvest in preparation for the severe weather soon to come on this highland. Our drive out of the area was also enlivened by a beautiful Coopers Hawk ( Accipiter cooperii) that flew before us and perched on the road edge.
It is apparent that the Dolly Sods area is undergoing successional recovery and that if this process is allowed to continue without human interference or climatic change, it will result in the re-establishment of a conifer forest predominantly of Red Spruce. The existing heath vegetation, northern hardwoods and shrublands mark intermediate stages in this recovery. An additional factor stressed by Gaspar (1994) and others is the effect of acid precipitation which results from distant and nearby pollution sources and which is affecting both water quality and forest health. Since Red Spruce is more vulnerable to this type of pollution than deciduous species, it could work counter to the natural succession and recovery.
Our visit here was during very pleasant, almost clear weather, with temperature highs in the 70s deg F, and little wind.
With a desire for a greater degree of completeness than that achieved on our 1993 visit, four inventory traverses were conducted. The first of these was in a seep area in the vicinity of the Red Creek Campground, the second along the trail leading to the bird - banding station on the Allegheny Front cliffs. The third inventory was of the Alder Run Bog and its approach, while the fourth was a brief foray up the Blackbird Knob Trail.
Our first inventory began a little before noon on 8 - 8 - 02 in the seep area near camp. The elevation here is near 3890 feet (1186 m) asl, the aspect essentially flat. The low canopy of secondary forest consisted largely of Red Maple and Black Cherry. Under this canopy a soil temperature determination (T - 506) was made at the usual depth of 5 inches (13 cm) in a wet, dark organic soil. It was found to be T= 16 deg C.
A water sample was also taken from the seep. Obtained from this rather muddy water was a pH value of 4.9.
Trees in the open, adjacent to the seep area, were Trembling Aspen, Smooth Serviceberry and Fire Cherry. Striped Maple was a common understory species
Shrubs observed here included abundant Speckled Alder, Witch Hazel, Great Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, Nemopanthus, Mountain Holly, Thornless Blackberry (Rubus canadensis), Smooth Gooseberry (Ribes rotundifolium), Black Chokeberry and, in the open, Upland Willow. Ground Berry (Rubus hispidus) was abundant in the ground cover in the vicinity of the seep.
It should be mentioned that a little Silky Willow (Salix sericea) was also observed in a similar seep nearby.
Herbs found in the mostly shaded seep area included Arrowleaf Tearthumb, Hay-scented Fern, Wrinkle-leaf Goldenrod, Mountain Oat Grass ( Danthonia compressa), Fowl Mannagrass (Glyceria striata), abundant, strikingly tall Drooping Wood Reedgrass, Mountain Aster (Aster acuminatus), Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), Dotted St. Johns-wort (Hypericum punctatum), Crinkled Hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuosa), Autumn bent Grass (Agrostis perennans), Purple-stem Aster (Aster puniceus), Mountain Woodfern (Dryopteris campyloptera), a little of the alien Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata), the rush Juncuc canadensis var canadensis, the mannagrass Glyceria melicaria, the sedges Carex debilis, C, C. baileyi, C. gynandra, C. normalis, C. atlantica and C. scoparium, Clayton's Bedstraw (Galium tinctorium), American Brooklime (Veronica americana), the aliens Velvet Grass (Holcus lanatus), Rough Bluegrass (Poa trivialis), Bitter Dock (Rumex obtusifolius) and Thyme-leaved Speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia), Rice Cutgrass, Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Northern Bugleweed (Lycopus uniflorus) and Fowl Bluegrass (Poa palustris) .
Noted quite generally were the cries of Ravens (Corvus corax) and the common occurrence of seedlings and/or sprouts of Trembling Aspen.
Later in the afternoon a traverse was made along the trail that leads to the bird - banding station on the Allegheny Front cliffs. Moving through largely open habitat, we successively noted Glade St. Johns-wort in full bloom, Black Huckleberry with fruit beginning to ripen, Bog Goldenrod in bloom, the alien Canada Bluegrass (Poa compressa), Early low Blueberry in fruit, Flat - top White Aster (Aster umbellatus), Rubus hispidus, Mountain Ash, abundant small Red Spruce with branches to the ground, Mountain Laurel, Hay - scented Fern, Grass - leaved Goldenrod, New York Fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis), a single Bear Oak, Trembling Aspen, Red Maple, common Mountain Azalea (Rhododendron roseum) and Black Cherry.
Now deviating slightly from the trail and beneath the low canopy of Red Maple, we found Stiff Clubmoss (Lycopodium annontinum), small Nemopanthus, Rock Fern (Polypodium virginianum), Canada Mayflower and a seedling of Mountain ash. Then in the open again, we noted the "fireweed"Erechtites hieracifolia , more Rubus hispidus, followed by Smooth Gooseberry, Crinkled Hairgrass, Black Cherry, Whorled Loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia), the alien Field Sorrel (Rumex acetosella), Ground Pine (Lycopodium flabelliforme), Cinnamon Fern, Intermediate Shield Fern (Dryopteris intermedia), Common Clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum), Minnie - bush and Mountain Laurel.
We now arrived at the edge of the Allegheny Front cliffs, where we observed a single small Northern Red Oak, which bore the thick form of leaf (" sun leaf") we had also found on the summit of Reddish Knob (see a photo from the latter site) and other high elevation summits. Found in the vicinity were Red Fescue (Festuca rubra ), Heath Aster (Aster pilosus), Pennsylvania Blackberry (Rubus pensilvanicus), the aliens Timothy ( Phleum pratense), Mouse - ear Chickweed (Cerastrum viscosum), Chamomile (Matricarium chamomila) and Ox - eye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) . Of greatest interest, however, was the rare northern disjunct Bristly sarsaparilla (Aralia hispida), which, growing from a cleft in rock, bore a robust cluster of dark blue berries. Flowers of this plant are a favorite source of nectar for the very rare (State Rank S1) Pink - edged Sulphur (Colias interior) Butterfly. the larvae of which feed on blueberry vegetation. Allen (1993) has provided a detailed discussion of this and other northern disjunct butterflies, both rare and more common.
The rock exposures along the Allegheny Front are substrates for an interesting assemblage of lichens, including such Arctic species as Arctoparmelia centrifuga and Melanelia disjuncta ( Dey, 1993) .
Also part of the cliff flora were Bracken Fern, the aliens Coltsfoot ( Tussilago farfara) and Golden Clover (Trifolium aureum), White snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) not yet in bloom, Cow Wheat (Melampyrum lineare) in bloom, Daisy Fleabane ( Erigeron annuus), Witch Hazel, Bleeding Heart in its usual habitat among large sandstone blocks and, seemingly out of place, Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) in the same location. Two other northern/high elevation plants were Mountain Bindweed (Polygonum cilinode) and Skunk Current (Ribes glandulosum) . Also heard here was a Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) . A Black Birch (Betula lenta) was observed on our return walk.
On the morning of 8-9-02, under almost clear skies, and pleasant (mid 70s deg F) temperatures, we descended the gentle slope along the road to Alder Run Bog. Black-capped Chickadees (Parus atricapillus) called from the road-side, where we also recognized an alien species of some interest. This was Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowi), which appears to be stable under a quite large range of climates, as it is common in the Shenandoah Valley.
From the road a slight incline through an open Spruce forest and dense ericaceous shrubland leads to the Bog proper. Our inventory was initiated at a position on this slope, which had an essentially west aspect. and not far from the road, at an elevation of about 3850 feet (1174 m) asl. We were here in the midst of an extremely dense shrub and ground flora dominated by ericaceous plants and small Red Spruce saplings. As we moved down-slope, we successively noted the following: Spring Bluets (Houstonia caerulea) in bloom, a Cladina lichen with the appearance of Cladina rangiferina, abundant Rubus hispidus, which attested to the presence of abundant seeps underfoot; also Early Low Blueberry in fruit, Mountain Laurel, abundant Teaberry, a little of the alien Black Medic (Medicago lupulina), Stiff Clubmoss, Carex debilis, Black Chokeberry, Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Crinkled Hairgrass, Narrow - leaf Gentian in bloom and Tree Clubmoss (Lycopodium obscurum) .
Continuing down - slope, we next recorded the rush Juncus effusus and the unusual disjunct Oceanorus, also in full bloom; then Carex folliculata Wild Raisin, the haircap moss of severe terrain Polytrichum juniperinum, followed by Bog Goldenrod and Small Cranberry with unripe berries.
Here a soil sample (no 1) was taken from the usual depth of 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) . On taking this sample it was found difficult to break through the extremely dense mat of interlocking roots. The soil recovered was rich in un-decayed fibers immediately beneath the root mat, but fine grained and very dark beneath this. A pH of 4.3 was obtained for a mix of this material both initially and 24 hours later.
Again moving down slope, we encountered Cinnamon Fern, White Beakrush ( Rhynchospora alba) in bloom, Mountain oat Grass, the first Cotton Sedge just beginning to head out and the northern rush Juncus brevicaudatus. Scattered mushroom - shaped Nemopanthus shrubs were also present here.
We had now reached an area of diminished slope and entered the Bog proper. A characteristic of this terrain, which however still pointed to a significant slope, was the presence of erosion channels occupied by flowing springbrooks that were directed toward the pond area described by Gibson (1970) . These channels exposed a cross-section of dark organic soil, likely peat, which in places was of the order of a meter in depth above an irregular surface of the white Pottsville conglomeratic sandstone. In places large projections or fragments of this rock protruded above the surface. As pointed out by Gibson and found to be the case in our 1993 visit, the Bog surface is hummocky in places, and different plants not only occur on the hummocks and intervening depressions, but also on different sides of the hummocks.
Soil sample no 2 was now taken from the surface mud of a small, almost stagnant pondlet . The pH values of this soil were 4.8 and 4.7 initially and 24 hours later respectively .The elevation at this point was probably near 3830 feet (1168 m) asl.
Still traversing down - slope, we noted the presence of well - spaced but common and blooming Narrow - leaf Gentian, White Beakrush and Oceanorus. A noteworthy occurrence also was the continued presence of Crinkled Hairgrass, although of a straggly nature and bearing only a few culms per clump as distinguished from its luxuriant character at Reddish Knob, for example.
In one place, on another muddy flat, we came upon a small colony (see photo) of the boreal Bog Clubmoss (Lycopodium innundatum) .
Another feature of interest was the continued presence of the normally upland species Early Low Blueberry on the hummocks, but not in the intervening depressions, a characteristic also of this plant in the Big Run Bog (Hunsucker et al, 1995) . Found here for the first time on our traverse was Sourtop Blueberry, which is stable under more moist conditions than its upland congener. These were also accompanied by Clayton's Bedstraw on the hummocks. As noted in our 1993 visit, Small Cranberry commonly occupied the depressions with a number of species of Sphagnum moss serving as a colorful background, a feature also shared with Big Run Bog.
Now, in the distance to the west, there could be seen a short but robust Pitch Pine, while, close at hand we tallied Northern Bugleweed, Cinnamon Fern, abundant large rock protrusions and in a meter - deep streamlet channel, the hybrid northern manna grass Glyceria laxa.
We soon came upon another quite deep and prominent channel in which we found the following: Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) - also listed as rare by Natural Heritage _ bearing insect prey, Purple - leaved Willow-herb (Epilobium coloratum), Arrow-leaf Tearthumb, Canadian St. Johns - wort (Hypericum canadensis), Carex atlantica, C. baileyi, C. scoparius, Juncus effusus, the thallus liverwort Pellia epiphylla and two unidentified species of the moss Philonotus. one of which later was identified as the northern acidiphile Philonotus fontana by R. Hunsucker. These were accompanied on the bank by Indian Tobacco ( Lobelia inflata) and the two aliens Ox - eye Daisy and the hawkweed Hieracium cespitosum.
After passing another wet area which contained Eleocharis tenuis, Juncus tenuis, Scirpus cyperinus and Glyceria striata, we arrived a the conspicuous Pitch Pine - which we now saw was on a substantial elevation of perhaps a 2/3 meter, and surrounded by several small but vigorous saplings that were likely seeded by this tree, as it bore numerous cones.
A little to the north another surprise awaited us, namely a fair sized Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens), healthy - appearing, but somewhat contorted by the elements (see photo) . Like the Pitch Pine, it was on an elevation, but in this case, one with an exposed rock surface. Also present in the vicinity were Pitch Pines, one of which had fallen and had its tip - up pit filled with water. Pitch pines appear to have the capacity to grow in shallow and relatively dry, acid soils above what may be incompatible substrates such as limestone, or, as in this case, water - saturated soil. It seems possible that this tree had once grown in a relatively dry spot, but had later been killed by natural processes that changed the local drainage and directed water to the spot.
On the approach of the noon hour, our last observations in the Bog were an unidentifiedOmphalina fungus, Rice Cutgrass, a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) Butterfly, a few small grasshoppers, Winterberry Holly, blooming Yellow Bartonia (Bartonia virginica) and a single dragonfly. Then returning to the road by a different route along the Spruce forest edge, we noted the presence there of Mountain Azalea as well as an unidentified species of Pussytoes (Antennaria sp).
The following mosses (Crum and Anderson, 1981) from the Bog were identified by R. Hunsucker:
Brachythecium sp - on hummocksLichens, collected from the bog soil by R. Hunsucker and identified by Don Flenniken (Flenniken, 1999) are as follows:
Bryum sp (strile) - on hummocks
Leucobryum glaucum - on hummocks
Philonotus fontana - on mud along streamlet
Thuidium delicatulum - on hummocksr
Cladina subtenuisPart of our afternoon of 8-9-02 was occupied by a short traverse up the Blackbird Knob Trail. This trail at first crosses a small alder swamp on a boardwalk. Conspicuous in the openings between Speckled Alder were Pipestem and Glade St. Johns-wort, both in fill bloom, and accompanying these, Pnicled Aster (Aster simplex) and Scirpus atrovirens, among other tall herbs.
Leading up - slope, the trail passed through groves of the hawthorn Crataegus macrosperma, then entered a stand of Red Spruce. Here we recorded an unidentified species of the fungus Inocybe, Black - capped Chickadees, Witch Hazel and Sweet White Violet (Viola blanda) ; then in an opening, Dotted St. Johns-wort, New York Fern, Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), more large hawthorns, Mountain Aster and Common Clubmoss.
Climbing more steeply now, we encountered bedrock outcroppings of what appeared to be a sandstone different from the Pottsville. A little beyond this we came upon Witch Hazel with much consumed foliage and with individual leaves crowded with the larvae of a lepidopteron about 2 cm in length. These were covered with hair, gray in color, and longer at head and tail. A little farther on there were large multi - stemmed Mountain Holly, mature Yellow Birch and Red maple, the fungi Scleroderma citrinum and an unidentified Ramaria; then Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea), Smooth Seviceberry, more Hay - scented Fern, Panicled Aster, Carex laxiflora, Creeping Five - leaf, European Self - heal, Golden Ragwort, Mountain Oat Grass and, far off the trail, Mountain Woodfern.
We now entered a Red Pine plantation with virtually no shrub undergrowth or ground flora. Then, moving again into deciduous growth, we observed a Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) Warbler and a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) soaring overhead. Here also were large shrubs of Smooth Gooseberry, Flat - top White Aster, Mountain Laurel, Thornless Blackberry, Ground Pine, Rubus hispidus and Sourtop Blueberry.
Other species identified on our return walk were Common Sundrop (Oenothera tetragona), a moisture - loving species of the genus, and the Spikerush Eleocharis ovata.
Fauna seen and/or heard around camp included Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum), Woodcock (Scolopax minor), a few large yellow grasshoppers at one location, and at another, in deep grass, numerous small (~ 1 cm), but different members of the same order. While bird life was generally scarce compared to our September, 1993 visit, a good number of unidentified sightings were had. Of some interest also was the observation of Blueberry Stem Gall, which is caused by a gall wasp, and which produces swellings on the side of the stem.
Additional Rare Species of the Tableland
The West Virginia Natural Heritage Program has identified other rare species than those mentioned above which may be encountered in Dolly Sods and vicinity. They are as follows:
Chamomile Grapefern (Botrychium matricariifolium) - a northern disjunct that extends no farther south than West Virginia, found in thickets and rich woods as in the Red Creek Valley.
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) - a northern disjunct tree in one of its most southern stations and including forms intermedite between the northern form and its Southern Appalachian congener Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri) . This tree occurs a little to the north of Dolly Sods, along the Stony River (Strausbaugh and Core,1977) . It occurs in circumneutral as well as acid soils, usually on the margins of swamps or on other mist soils. See our sections on Blister Run and Canaan Valley.
A Manna Grass (Glyceria pallida) - a northern grass ranging only as far south as West Virginia; in wet areas at high elevations.
Northern Stichwort (Stellaria borealis) - a circumboreal plant ranging only as far south as West Virginia; in wet meadows at high elevations.
Purple Virgin's Bower (Clematis occidentalis) - a northern species ranging to North Carolina; in rocky woods.
White Monkshood (Aconitum reclinatum) - an Appalachian herb of rich, moist soils along streams.
Oblong-fruited Serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana) - a S1 disjunct from the boreal wetlands that we previously encountered in the Cranberry Glades. Although not seen by us or reported by Gibson, it also occurs along the Northland Loop in the Alder Run Bog of Dolly Sods. Even in Wisconsin this species is confined to the most northern tier of counties on the shore of Lake Superior!
Northern Blue Violet (Viola septentrionalis) - a northern violet ranging south to West Virginia and upland Virginia; in moist, at times coniferous forest.
Beaked Dodder (Cuscuta rostrata) - an Appalachian mountain herb ranging from West Virginia to South Carolina; parasitic on a variety of plants. See our section on Cranberry Glades and Vicinity.
Early Hairstreak Butterfly (Erora laeta) - a northern species with a range extending to Tennessee ; in high elevation forests, especially Beech - maple - Yellow Birch.; known to feed on leaves and fruit of Beech and possibly Yellow Birch and Beaked Hazelnut ( Corylus cornuta) . Allen (1993) has provided details of the characteristics of this and other northern disjunct butterflies of the Allegheny highlands.
Cheat Mountain Salamander (Plethodon nettingi) - endemic to Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker Counties; in mixed deciduous and Red Spruce forests at high elevations, generally above 3500 feet, but has been documented from as low as 2640 feet. It is listed as Threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) - breeds in high elevation spruce forests.
West Virginia Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) - subspecies of the Northern Flying Squirrel that ranges south along the mountains from Alaska and Canada to North Carolina and Tennessee; in Red Spruce and Red Spruce - northern hardwood forests. It is listed as Endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Southern Rock Vole (Microtus chrotorrhinus carolinensis) - a subspeciec of the Northern Rock Vole that ranges south along the higher Appalachians to North Carolina and Tennessee. in cool, damp coniferous and mixed forests.
Allegheny Woodrat (Neotoma magister) - ranges from New York and Connecticut along the mountains to Georgia and Alabama. Its federal status is " Species of Concern".
Appalachian Cottontail (Sylvilagus obscurus) - ridges of the Appalachian Mountains south and west of the Hudson River, Pennsylvania south to Georgia and Alabama, in mixed forests, especially northern hardwood - spruce with Great Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel.
Summary and Comparison With Big Run Bog
Although difficult to detail from our somewhat cursory inventories, there is at Dolly Sods an emerging pattern of the connection between bedrock, associated waters and soils and the various floras observed, first by Gibson (1970), and now by us. Most obvious is the association or ericaceous shrublands and upland heaths with the acidic, nutrient - poor Pottsville and other sandstones. Also, as shown by Gibson, and, as expected, some of the lowest pH waters are equilibrated with Sphagnum mosses in the Bog. Apparently, and again as expected, some upland seeps, one of which was the object of our first 2002 inventory, contain waters that apparently have contacted bedrock less acid than that where they emerge. This results in floras with a diversity of herbs and non-ericaceous woody plants rather than Sphagnum and the ericaceous shrubs. Most conspicuous of the former are alder swamps, Spiraea and St. Johns - wort thickets and "glades" with Blue Joint (Calamagrostis canadensis) and other grasses (see our section on Canaan Valley) . While it is generally concluded that the upper Red Creek Basin, which occupies much of Dolly Sods, is so acid that it presents marginal fish habitat, there is variation (Webb, 1997) . Reference to the geologic map ( Cardwell et al, 1968) indicates that the least acidic parts of the Basin should coincide with the Conemaugh Group rocks in the center. This is also hinted at by Gaspar [ Gasper ] (1994 b) who called attention to the large number of Beaver ponds in the area, and mentions a certain "richness" in the food supply for fish. However, according to this same author, the shallowness of these ponds results in high water temperatures that also restrict fish habitat as well as species diversity. The presence of rich - soil areas within the Dolly Sods Wilderness is further indicated by some of the superb photographs of Jonathan Jessup, which show extensive wetlands apparently covered by grasses, including possibly Blue Joint (Jonathan Jessup's Nature Photographs, 2002 early summer trip, p36) .
Dolly sods also has a lot to contribute to our knowledge of the stability of species with respect to air and soil temperatures and moisture content. Climatic data presented by Gibson (1970) indicate highly variable winter temperatures and generally cool conditions during the growing season. Temperature, in particular, is directly indicative of climate change, which is of increasing concern. Evidence of reproduction, or lack thereof, in boreal or high montane species such as the northern sedges and rushes, Red Spruce, Nemopanthus, Bunchberry and Bristly Sarsaparilla, which are on the edges of their ranges, could be monitored and correlated with growing season soil temperatures with relative ease (Mueller, 2002, 2003) . In addition to these rare disjuncts, the severe growing season climate of the area sharpens the division within genera that results in segregations characteristic of the high Alleghenies in general. Thus, among the Asteraceae, Bog, Wrinkle - leaf and Grass - leaved Goldenrods and Flat - top White, Purple - stem and Mountain Asters, which are generally abundant among many species of the family in the high Alleghenies, here occur to the virtual exclusion of the others.. Furthermore, all six of these species range farther north than virtually any other species of these two genera in the Alleghenies (Gleason, 1952), certainly an indication that temperature is an important factor in the floristics here. The same restriction is not as true of the ericaceae, which are well - represented by Appalachian species, although among Vaccinium, northern species greatly dominate all others. Perhaps most striking, however is the apparent low species diversity of vascular plants, despite habitat diversity, when compared to many upland as well as lowland areas, another indication of climatically severe growing conditions. Also of interest is the apparent absence here of the north - ranging Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), which is a common component of floras in calcareous terrain throughout the Central Appalachians. It is likely that it is excluded by the prevailingly acid soils. Additionally, it should be noted that Bristly Sarsaparilla, a species that is favored by dry conditions (Gleason, 1952), is, in this normally moist terrain, probably confined to rock outcrops or other habitat where drying is rapid after precipitation.
It is interesting to compare other features of Dolly Sods with those of the Big Run Bog (Hunsucker et al 1995) already referred to. A salient feature of Big Run Bog is its resemblance to an ombotrophic bog rather than a minerotrophic fen as might be expected from its position in a basin that receives drainage from surrounding uplands. Important there, however, are the underlying rocks, not only beneath the Bog, but also beneath the entire drainage area occupied by northern hardwood forest. These rocks are apparently dominated by the most siliceous and hence most acidic members of the Pottsville Group and Allegheny Formation, essentially the same rocks as those that rim Dolly Sods, as along the Allegheny Front. The acidic and nutrient - poor character of soils in the northern hardwood forest above Big Run Bog are indicated by its depauperate flora relative to what might normally be expected in this forest type. A number of trees and other woody plants that occur under these climatic conditions in this forest type elsewhere in the Central Appalachians are here either missing or infrequent Apparently absent are White Ash (Fraxinus americana), basswood (Tilia sp), Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana ), Muscletree (Carpinus caroliniana), hawthorns (Crataegus sp) and Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum). Sugar Maple, a species somewhat more tolerant of these conditions, is of infrequent occurrence. However, Beech, more tolerant of acid conditions than Sugar Maple, is abundant in the northern hardwood forest and Red Maple and Red Spruce, among the most acid - loving species, are either frequent or abundant in most habitats of the area (Hunsucker et al 1995) .These relations are in agreement with the behavior of these species wherever they occur throughout the Central Appalachians (Mueller, 2000) . Similarly herbs in the northern hardwood forest at Big Run Bog are almost confined to acidiphiles of either wide or boreal distribution, while most species indicative of more nutrient - rich soils and more alkaline conditions are absent or very infrequent. Examples of such missing herbs are many of the crowfoot family ( Ranunculaceae) such as Black Cohosh (Cimicfuga racemosa), the barberry family ( Berberaceae) such as Blue Cohosh ( Caulophyllum thalictroides) and all mints (Labiatae) except Northern Bugleweed (Lycopus uniflorus) . Among grasses even Crinkled Hairgrass, a common constituent of cold acidic forests and widely occurring at Dolly Sods, is apparently absent at Big Run Bog.
The extreme acidic and nutrient - poor character of the northern hardwood forest is reflected in the waters that drain from it into Big Run Bog and the Bog's resultant flora. Apparently absent from the Bog is Speckled Alder, a common shrub at Dolly Sods, including Alder Run Bog, despite its acid character. Also absent from Big Run Bog is spiraea and many herbs that are common in seeps at Dolly Sods. Missing also are such constituents of Alder Run Bog as Ocenorus and Crinkled Hairgrass.
The Big Run Bog watershed is apparently simpler in its geologic and chemical characteristics than is the Dolly Sods Area. This is in part a matter of size, but also of the fortuitous placement of underlying rock. The considerable diversity that is still present at Big Run Bog, and which includes such rare plants as Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), is attributable to the diversity of habitat in this relatively small area.
Many of the same plants that are missing at Big Run Bog are apparently also missing in the area inventoried by us at Dolly Sods and some not present there do occur at Big Run Bog. Particularly notable is the absence in both areas of White Ash and Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra), a common species in richer wetlands in the High Alleghenies. While hawthorn occurs at Dolly Sods, neither Beech nor Sugar Maple were observed there, perhaps in part due to the absence of significant mature forest in the area inventoried. Also of interest is the apparent absence of Creeping Snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula) at Alder Run Bog and its occurrence in similar habitat at Big Run Bog.
The Dolly Sods and Big Run Bog Areas are important sources of ecological information about northern and montane species and vegetation types, because they represent extreme habitats useful in the determination of the limits of the stability fields of species, either included or excluded. As such they are analogous to areas like Maple Flats in other vegetation types (see our section on Maple Flats) .
9-10-93 - Dolly Sods: Pin Cherry in heath.
We greatly appreciate the identification of lichens from the Alder Run Bog by Don Flenniken and the kind procurement of a document important to this study by Christina Wulf.. We also thank Barbara Sargent of the West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Division of Natural Resources, for providing us with a list of rare species of Dolly Sods and vicinity.
Allard, H. A. and E. C. Leonard (1952) The Canaan and Stony River Valleys of West Virginia, Their Former Magnificent Spruce Forests, Their Vegetation and Floristics Today. Castanea 17, 1 - 60.
Allen, Thomas J. (1993) (Butterflies) Insects and Spiders of the Upland Forests. pp 143 - 178 in Stephenson, Steven L. editor Upland Forests of West Virginia. McCLain Printing Co., Parsons, West Va.
Brooks, Maurice G. (1963) Forests and Forest Research.West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey. 33, 171 - 190.
Cardwell, Dudley H., Robert B. Erwin, Herbert P. Woodward and Charles W. Lotz, compilers (1968) Geologic Map of West Virginia, Slightly Revised 1986. West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey. Morgantown, West Virginia.
Clarkson, R. B. (1964) Tumult on the Mountains. McClain Printing Co., Parsons W. Va.
Crum, Howard A. and Lewis E. Anderson (1981) Mosses of Eastern North America, in two volumes. Columbia University Press, New York.
Dey, Jonathan P. (1993) Observations on the Fruticose and Foliose Lichens of the Upland Forest Region, pp 101 - 124. in Stephenson, Steven L. editor Upland Forests of West Virginia. McClain Printing Co., Parsons, West Va.
Flenniken, Don G. (1999) Macrolichens in West Virginia. Carlisle Printing, Sugar Creek, Ohio 44681.
Gaspar [ Gasper ], Don (1994 a) Dolly Sods and Otter Creek - Further Degradation. The Highlands Voice, 27 (5) 6 - 7.
Gaspar [ Gasper ], Don (1994 b) Dolly Sods Addition ???. The Highlands Voice, 27 (5) 7.
Gibson, Joan R. (1970) The Flora of Alder Run Bog, Tucker County, West Virginia. Castanea 35 (1) 81 - 98.
Gleason, Henry A. (1952) The New Britton and Brown Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, in three volumes. Hafner Press, New York.
Hunsucker, Robert, Dorothy Simkins and Thomas DeMeo (1995) Botanical Survey of Big Run Bog, Candidate Research Natural Area January,1995, Forests of the Central Appalachians Project. Virginians for Wilderness Web Site.
Kennedy, Philip Pendleton (1853) The Blackwater Chronicle. A Narrative of an Expedition into the Land of Canaan, Randolph County, Virginia. Redfield Publishing Co., New York, N. Y., 223pp.
Lewis, Thomas (1925) The Fairfax Line, Thomas Lewis Journal of 1746. Edited by John W. Wayland. The Henkel Press, New Market, Virginia. 97 pp.
McDonald, Brian R. (1993) Rare Plants of the Upland Forests pp 67 - 85. in Stephenson, Steven L., editor Upland Forests of West Virginia. McClain Printing Co., Parsons, West Va.
Mueller, R. F. (2000) Stability relations in Forests. Forests of the Central Appalachians Project. Virginians for Wilderness Web Site.
Mueller, R. F. (2002,2003) Soil Temperature and Forest Type and Soil Temperature and Forest Type II. Forests of the Central Appalachians Project. Virginians for Wilderness Web Site.
Perkins, C. L. (1929) The Monongahela National Forest, The Nation's Tribute to a deserving People. West Virginia Wild Life. 7. 5 - 7, 18 - 19, 23.
Strausbaugh, P. D., and Earl L. Core (1977) Flora of West Virginia, second edition. Seneca Books Inc., Grantsville West Virginia.
Webb J. Rick (1997) The Water Quality and Fishery Status of Otter Creek and Dolly Sods Wilderness Areas, an address to the W. V. Highlands Conservancy's 30th Anniversary meeting - October 11, 1997, Submitted by Don Gasper. The Highlands Voice 30 (7) 9 and 14.
Wind Power Alert Addendum
Recently the Allegheny Front and some adjacent areas such as Backbone Mountain have come under the threat of Wind Power development. On Backbone Mountain the requisite 300 foot or more - tall towers are already in place. Although touted as ":green power" this form of energy has the following negatives:
1. It is not" pollution free" since it depends on a variety of polluting support industries such as mining and manufacturing, and after use this "clean" wind energy is degraded into the same high entropy heat and used - up materials as any other energy form (Mueller, 1971}.
2. It requires an extensive infrastructure of roads, power lines and other features that degrade the unique ecosystems and aesthetic values of exposed areas such as mountain ridges.
3. Most wind turbines produce only of the order of one or two megawatts of power per unit at peak operation winds, so at least 1000 windmills would be required to equal the output of one large power plant. It is difficult to visualize the amount of ridge top required to make a significant dent in our power supply needs (Gfroerer,2002) .
4. Wind power does not really replace other forms of power; it is only another source of supply for our glutonous life style (Rogers, 2002). As such it would only encourage more consumption. What is really needed is less power, through increased efficiency - and an end to our wasteful life style!
5. The Allegheny Front is a unique ecosystem, scenic area and a critical flyway for migrating birds. The impact of wind machines on birds and other wildlife here is still largely unknown, but negative impacts elsewhere have been documented (The reader is urged to explore the extensive internet resources on " Wind Power and Birds" through the search engines. These reveal large impacts indeed.). The visual impact of the towers is completely clear, however. They are, and more of them would be an intolerable blot on the high scenic values of one of West Virginia's greatest tourist attractions.
The concerned reader is urged to contact public officials and support organizations such as the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy that are in the forefront of protection of this outstanding ecosystem.
Gfroerer, Ken (2002) Letter to the Editor, The Highlands Voice. 35 (11), 8 - 9. West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Charleston, West Virginia.
Mueller, Robert F. (1971) Thermodynamics of Environmental Degradation. NASA Document X - 644 - 71 - 121, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.
Rogers, Hugh (2002) The View From Snowy Point, The Highlands Voice, 35 (11), 3. West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Charleston, West Virginia.